Space Radiation Effects

Space Radiation Effects at the ESL

Hardware used in space is subject to much more radiation than hardware used on earth due to the absence of the earth’s protective atmosphere. This increased radiation has many adverse effects on the operation and usage of hardware in space.

The current research in the ESL is geared toward mitigating the effects of space radiation.

Current Projects

Smart Component Selection for Space Projects

Radiation tests of commercial components are very time consuming and expensive. Various options to reduce the cost of radiation testing are being investigated. One solution is to make smart component selection prior to radiation testing so that only the most suitable candidate electronics are tested. This step could involve using machine learning techniques to assist with the selection process. The approach will be verified by testing a set of candidate electronics at iThemba labs.

Radiation Testing

The ESL makes use of two off-site facilities in order to execute radiation testing to develop the tests themselves as well as their results.

TID Radiation testing at Agricultural Research Council (ARC) Co-60 facility

The ESL has extensive experience of conducting TID testing of electronic components and systems using the Co-60 gamma source housed at the ARC Infruitec site.

SEE Radiation testing at iThemba Labs

The ESL is  currently developing a standardized test infrastructure at iThemba Labs, in cooperation with their nuclear physics department so that SEE testing on electronic components and systems can be conducted on a regular basis at the facility.